I’m sharing what I learned from the school district where I work. I don’t think what they wrote is copyrighted. I suppose it would be ironic to post a copyrighted document on not infringing on copyrights. I was starting to share things I found on Facebook because I thought it was OK. Now I need to rethink about what I do with this. Many of the pictures on this website are my own pictures. Please do not distribute my pictures as your own pictures. Giving me credit and linking back to my site is acceptable to me. If I do have a picture or article on here somewhere that is infringing on a copyright, please let me know, I will remove it. I mostly link my commentary to the other person’s website. Still learning as I go.
Copyright Infringement on ***** Website
The District has recently received several violation notices for copyright infringement on our website. As this is a serious issue, and the District is being billed for usage fees incurred, we felt it was important to notify all employees about potential issues that could be present on anyone’s website. Some areas where we have seen copyright infringements on our website:
- Using a photo or image, most likely found from a Google image search, on a website.
- Taking a photograph of a copyrighted image, cartoon or document and posting it on a website.
- Posting copyrighted materials on a website.
Common Myths About Copyright
MYTH 1: “Royalty-Free” images are free to use. In reality, they are only free to use without royalty fees after you have paid a fee to use them.
MYTH 2: Images without a copyright symbol or watermark are free to use. Copyright law does not require that a symbol be placed on property in order to protect it.
MYTH 3: Teachers/Schools can use anything, even copyrighted materials, under “Educational Fair Use” law. There are still many restrictions in place for this. Make sure you fully understand them before you assume your use of something is covered.
MYTH 4: As long you note the source, it is ok to use freely. While you might think you are safe doing this, you still do not have permission to use or distribute the photo or copyrighted material, and can still be charged a fee. This includes images with watermarked logos on them.
MYTH 5: If I edit it or only use a portion of the original work I don’t need permission. Copyright grants the owner exclusive control over changes to their work.
MYTH 6: If it’s on the internet, it is free to use. Much of the content on the internet is copyrighted. Search engines just make it more difficult to find that information since you can view content without going to the original source.
MYTH 7: Images found in a Google image search are free to use. Google is simply a search engine that helps you locate content, but is not a content depository. Any content located through a Google search should be researched to see if it is in the public domain and does not require permission to use. If you cannot find the information then assume you cannot use it without penalty.
MYTH 8: If I use a photo and get a violation notice, I can plead ignorance and remove the image without penalty. Simply removing copyrighted materials does not eliminate the fee. You have already used the content and are still liable for the fee.
MYTH 9: My district has purchased the rights to use copyrighted materials in my curriculum, so I can legally post those resources online for my students to access. Posting copyrighted materials on a website constitutes “distribution” and is not legal, since people who have not purchased the materials can now access it without paying the owner.
What Steps Can I Take to Ensure I do not Misuse Copyrighted Materials?
- Only use images and materials that you created yourself, you have received permission to use and/or distribute, or have purchased from a stock photo site.
- Assume that all online images and published materials are protected by copyright. Unless you know where it came from, and what rights go along with it, don’t use it!
- Don’t assume that since you are a teacher or work for an educational institution that you are covered under Educational Fair Use.
- Only use images that are found through a search engine with the appropriate filters by license or usage rights in place (instructions for doing this are below).
- Don’t post copyrighted curriculum materials on your website. Posting them on the website constitutes “distribution” and is not legal.
- If you need to make copyrighted resources available to your students or a group of teachers, and you have the rights to use them in this limited way, with this limited group, you must require a website login to access that page or file, so that the general public will not have access to it. Our website management system, ************, allows you to set viewer access to various parts of your webpage. See your school website manager for assistance.
How Can I Find Images That Are Legal and Free to Use on My Own Website?
Several popular search engines allow you to filter image searches by usage rights so you can find images that are safe and free to use.
- Go to www.google.com
- Enter the keyword(s) of what you are looking for.
- Select “Images” just under the search bar at the top of the page.
- Click on the “Search Tools” button under the search bar.
- Click on the “Usage Rights” dropdown and select the appropriate option other than “not filtered by license”.
- Go to www.bing.com/images
- Enter the keyword(s) of what you are looking for in the search box.
- Once your search has pulled up results, some filtering options show up underneath the search bar. Click on the one that says “License” and then select the appropriate option under that. Selecting anything but the “all” option should give you graphics that are safe to use, and in some cases modify as well.
Pics4Learning.com – A safe, free image library for education. Teachers and students can use the copyright-friendly photos & images for classrooms, multimedia projects, websites, videos, portfolios, or any projects in an educational setting.
Commons.Wikimedia.org – A repository of free images, videos, sounds and other multimedia files.
I deleted out identifying words to your school district.